Crushing the slopes is obviously what you imagine when a winter trip to Colorado is on the books. But some of the great state’s 27 renowned ski areas, resorts and mountain towns also offer unexpected fine art and cultural experiences to add a little flair to the traditional ski trip, whether you’re there for work or pleasure.
From a brand-new performing arts center in Silverthorne, a Winter Art Walk in Vail, to exploring international contemporary art at the Aspen Art Museum or visiting the booming galleries in downtown Salida, these days, a Colorado ski mission will fire up the brain as well as the legs.
Aspen is hard to beat when it comes to the arts in a ski town. Aspen Skiing Company, which includes four world-class mountains, has partnered with Chicago and Aspen-based artist Paula Crown to design five unique lift tickets for the upcoming ski season. The Aspen Art Museum will feature renowned exhibitions including Nate Lowman, Zoe Crosher and Dara Friedman. Also throughout the season, several arts festivals will take place including Aspen Film’s Academy Screenings, Aspen Music Festival, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet and more.
The town of Breckenridge not only offers five huge peaks spanning 2,908 acres of world-class skiing, it also offers The Breckenridge Arts District, a certified Colorado Creative District. BreckCreate, a multidisciplinary nonprofit organization established in 2014, was developed by the town of Breckenridge to support and promote the arts, culture and creative experiences throughout Breckenridge. The Breckenridge Arts District is the region’s newest epicenter of creativity, bringing together studios, galleries, performance spaces, historic landmarks, public art, restaurants, cafes, and other creative businesses that animate and populate a vibrant cultural corridor in downtown Breckenridge.
Known for its proximity to some of southwest Colorado’s best skiing and snowboarding at Purgatory Resort and Hesperus Ski Area, Durango is also a historic town with a thriving arts scene. The town is home to world-class art galleries, a theater, public art, visiting international and local musicians and a variety of art classes and workshops.
Salida is an excellent base camp for a ski vacation at Monarch Mountain, a local favorite perfect for visitors wanting to get away from the hustle and bustle of the bigger resorts. After a day on the slopes, visitors can also explore their artistic sides in Salida, which was named a Colorado Creative District by Governor John Hickenlooper in 2012. This quaint mountain town showcases dozens of artist-owned studios and galleries, entrepreneurs, restaurants, local boutique shops and more.
The town of Silverthorne is the ultimate basecamp for any ski vacation with a total of seven ski areas and resorts within an hour’s drive. After a day of outdoor adventure, visitors can enjoy an evening of entertainment at the Silverthorne Performing Arts Center, the largest new build theatre in the state. The new Silverthorne Performing Arts Center is both a performance venue and an educational center with two theater labs that can be used as classrooms for dance, music and other performing arts. The main attraction of the new facility is a black box theater with the capacity to seat 110-198 guests and the ability to modify the space for various performances and events.
The 2017/18 winter season marks the 50th anniversary of the Snowmass Ski Area, and the resort will also play host to the Olympic qualifier Toyota U.S. Grand Prix event featuring the best freestyle athletes in the country January 10-14, 2018. Not only is this winter an exciting time on the slopes in Snowmass, but also off the slopes through art and culture. The annual Holiday Open House at Anderson Ranch is a festive evening featuring Artists-in-Residence studio tours, a special exhibition opening in the Patton-Malott Gallery, holiday-themed craft activities for children and a trunk show in the ArtWorks Store. The evening is capped off with a community holiday dinner in the Ranch café.
This iconic mountain town, tucked in a box canyon in the San Juan Mountains, offers 2,000+ acres of skiable terrain and is a magnet for interesting people and new ideas. Telluride Arts, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, focuses on sustaining, promoting and expanding a culture of the arts in the Telluride Arts District. The district currently includes several galleries, First Thursday Art Walks, events, festivals and in 2020, The Warehouse will open as a space to inspire museum-quality exhibitions and installations, music, small film screenings and more.
Skiing Vail’s infamous back bowls is not the only activity worth exploring in this beautiful mountain town. The Town’s public art collection includes over 45 works ranging from paintings, sculptures, murals, playground components and site-integrated art, which all can be explored in a Winter Art Walk. The tour winds its way through the Village with discussions of the history of the Vail Valley, the founding of Vail Mountain, the master planning of the Village and the importance of the town’s art collection.
The state’s scenic landscape also boasts natural hot springs, the headwaters of seven major rivers, many peaceful lakes and reservoirs, 12 national parks and monuments and 58 mountain peaks that top 14,000 feet.